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Posts Tagged ‘oil’

Protested pipeline parallels existing pipeline

Posted by Richard on September 9, 2016

Protesters rallied at the State Capitol in Denver last night in solidarity with the lawsuit and violent protests by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and environmentalists against the Dakota Access pipeline. The Standing Rock Sioux claim the pipeline will “disturb sacred sites” and its passage under the Missouri River will imperil their drinking water. In addition to the above-linked article about the rally, the Denver Post published an Associated Press “explainer” purporting to tell us what we need to know about the pipeline and the protests. But that “explainer” omitted some information critical to putting the claims of the protesters into perspective.

Rob Port of the Say Anything blog actually read through the 1206-page report on which the Corps of Engineers based their approval of the Dakota Access pipeline. He learned something interesting from a graphic on page 1008 (emphasis added):

Before reading this report I had no idea there was another pipeline already running through this area, but there is. It’s called the Northern Border Pipeline. It’s a natural gas line built all the way back in 1982, and the Dakota Access Pipeline follows it often, including through the areas currently being disputed by protesters.

This is no mere coincidence. I spoke with Justin Kringstad at the ND Pipeline Authority who told me that the Dakota Access line “generally follows the same corridor” as the Northern Border line, and that this sort of thing is “not uncommon.” It can be easier to get easements and regulatory approval for a pipeline built where another pipeline has already gone through.

Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak also told me that the Dakota Access line “tried to follow wherever possible the Northern Border pipeline.”

The two routes aren’t exact, but through the area where pipeline construction has sparked violent protests the two lines run side by side according to Energy Transfer Partners.

Digging into the history of the Northern Border pipeline’s approval, Port learned that the Standing Rock Sioux, who now claim that the new pipeline will “disturb sacred sites,” had no such objection (in fact, no objection of any kind) to the building of the Northern Border pipeline along the same route.

The attempts to stop the Dakota Access pipeline aren’t really about sacred lands or water quality; those are just cover stories. This is just another battle in the leftist/environmentalist war on fossil fuels (and thus on affordable energy and economic growth).

This is another example of a blogger doing what the journalists reporting the story failed to do: dig into the facts to determine how credible the claims they’re reporting are. Most journalists today can’t be bothered with that, except maybe for whatever Trump says. Certainly not for whatever claims their environmentalist and leftist allies make. Those are simply accepted without question. These aren’t real journalists, they’re just leftist/environmentalist PR flacks.

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Just the fracks, ma’am

Posted by Richard on January 23, 2012

Casey Research has published an excellent essay by Marin Katusa that explains the technology behind hydraulic fracturing (AKA fracking), its benefits, and its drawbacks (and how they’re being addressed). Katusa debunks many of the claims made in the “frac-bashing” documentary, Gasland, including the nonsense about all the “deadly chemicals” in frac fluids:

Allowing for variance among companies and operations, fracking fluid is typically a bit under 91% water and 9% sand. Tiny amounts of added chemicals reduce friction, fight microbes, control pH, and prevent corrosion of equipment. Many are found around the house, including guar gum (in ice cream), borate salts (a fungicide), and mineral oil. And yes, there are 596 ingredients that have at some point been used to make frac fluids, but any single fracturing job uses only a few of the available options.

Even the 0.44% of added chemicals in typical frac fluid is about to become a non-issue:

Another way to ease the problem of frac fluids spills or leaks is to make frac fluids so benign that we could literally drink them. It sounds pie-in-the-sky, but the world’s second-largest oilfield services company is working hard on the idea. In fact, Halliburton (NYSE.HAL) has created a frac fluid called CleanStim, made from materials sourced from the food industry. A Halliburton executive showed the stuff at a recent conference – and then tossed it down his gullet.

Read the whole thing to learn much more about fracking — including how it may just prevent big earthquakes.

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Canada, Keystone XL, and national insanity

Posted by Richard on January 23, 2012

When President Obama nixed the Keystone XL pipeline project, Robert Samuelson called it “an act of national insanity.” Besides the several reasons Samuelson cites for why this decision was idiotic, there’s the fact that it isn’t even going to stop the project.

The company behind it, TransCanada Corp., said in effect, “Just because we’ve got Canada in our name doesn’t mean the pipeline has to begin in Canada, eh?” So they’re looking at a slightly shorter version, running from Montana to the Gulf. It would carry oil from the Bakken field. And since it wouldn’t cross borders, it wouldn’t require federal approval:

The Bakken shale-rock formation is estimated to hold as much as 4.3 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil in North Dakota and Montana, according to a 2008 U.S. Geological Survey report. Oil production in North Dakota surged 42 percent to 510,000 barrels a day in November, exceeding the output of Ecuador.

Production in the Bakken field may reach 750,000 barrels a day this year, Edward Morse, managing director of commodities research for Citigroup Inc., said at a conference in Calgary today.

The original Keystone XL plan was based on carrying up to 830,000 barrels a day, so the Bakken output alone may be plenty to make the project economically feasible. TransCanada can always ask for approval to extend it into Alberta later, perhaps after there is a less insane administration in Washington.

For a look at what some of our neighbors to the north think of Washington’s idiocy, check out this excellent video commentary by Ezra Levant:

[YouTube link]

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Cold killed dolphins

Posted by Richard on March 5, 2011

I remember the story on NBC Nightly News, preceded by a warning about "disturbing images": dead baby dolphins were washing ashore on the Gulf Coast in unusually high numbers. The report mentioned that researchers were performing autopsies to determine the cause of the deaths, but made it clear that there was no doubt that the BP oil spill was to blame.

Oops, wrong. It seems that a precipitous drop in Mobile Bay water temperatures — caused by cold-water runoff after nearly unprecedented cold weather and snowfalls in the area — was the most likely culprit.

But BP won't get off the hook that easily. It won't be long before some clever leftist points out that, thanks to Al Gore and his acolytes at the IPCC, NOAA, and Hadley CRU, "everyone knows" the unusual cold and snow were caused by — wait for it — global warming! And of course, global warming is caused by those evil capitalist oil companies! Ipso facto, QED. Renewables! Renewables!

(HT: Instapundit)

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Time magazine says Rush was right about oil spill

Posted by Richard on July 29, 2010

Many weeks ago, early in the history of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Rush Limbaugh argued that calling it a crisis or an environmental catastrophe was unwarranted and mere environmentalist hype. He pointed out that the natural seepage of oil from the ocean floor every day in the Gulf was about equal to the amount being spewed each day from the well. He pointed out that the microbes in the ocean water consumed that natural seepage and would do the same with the plumes of oil spreading throughout the Gulf. He argued that, while the accident was serious and unfortunate, it was not a catastrophe and would not, as environmentalists claimed, do permanent and significant harm.

Now, more than a hundred days after the spill began, Time magazine's Michael Grunwald says that the "obnoxious anti-environmentalist" Rush was right

President Obama has called the BP oil spill "the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced," and so has just about everyone else. Green groups are sounding alarms about the "catastrophe along the Gulf Coast," while CBS, Fox and MSNBC are all slapping "Disaster in the Gulf" chyrons on their spill-related news. Even BP fall guy Tony Hayward, after some early happy talk, admitted that the spill was an "environmental catastrophe." The obnoxious anti-environmentalist Rush Limbaugh has been a rare voice arguing that the spill — he calls it "the leak" — is anything less than an ecological calamity, scoffing at the avalanche of end-is-nigh eco-hype.

Well, Limbaugh has a point.

The scientists I spoke with cite four basic reasons the initial eco-fears seem overblown. First, the Deepwater oil, unlike the black glop from the Valdez, is unusually light and degradable, which is why the slick in the Gulf is dissolving surprisingly rapidly now that the gusher has been capped. Second, the Gulf of Mexico, unlike Alaska's Prince William Sound, is very warm, which has helped bacteria break down the oil. Third, heavy flows of Mississippi River water have helped keep the oil away from the coast, where it can do much more damage. And finally, Mother Nature can be incredibly resilient. Van Heerden's assessment team showed me around Casse-tete Island in Timbalier Bay, where new shoots of Spartina grasses were sprouting in oiled marshes and new leaves were growing on the first black mangroves I've ever seen that were actually black. "It comes back fast, doesn't it?" van Heerden said. 

Read the rest — it's fascinating. Apparently, the harm to fish and wildlife has been very modest, the damage to the marshes is a mere blip compared to the coastal wetlands lost every year for other reasons, and the oil-eating microbes, as Limbaugh predicted, seem to be doing a bang-up job. It's becoming increasingly difficult to even find any remaining oil to clean up.

Limbaugh claimed (tongue firmly in cheek, as usual) that the missing oil is "hiding next to the 3.6 million jobs that have been saved, admiral.  It's hiding right next to all the heat that the global warming people can't find."

BTW, here's something that's peeved me about the coverage of the oil spill almost from the beginning: Crude oil is measured by the barrel. No one in the oil industry ever measures a volume of oil by the gallon. Gasoline, milk, and water are measured (in the US) by the gallon, but it wasn't gasoline, milk, or water that was spilled.

There are 42 US gallons per barrel of oil. Admittedly, many people don't know that. But rather than educate their audience by stating this in their stories, the MSM have routinely specified the spill rate and the total amount of oil spilled in gallons. It gives them bigger, scarier numbers to report. Lazy journalism? A reflection of their own ignorance? Or a subtle way to further their anti-energy-industry agenda? I don't know, but it annoys me. 

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“We want to go back to work”

Posted by Richard on July 23, 2010

The Obama administration doesn't want a government of laws, it wants a government of men. And there's no better illustration of that than the ongoing struggle over off-shore drilling in the Gulf. Despite the fact that the administration's own hand-picked experts opposed a moratorium on deep-water drilling and in essence said the administration lied about their recommendations, despite the fact that two separate federal courts have slapped down the administration's moratorium, the administration merely rearranged a few commas in their edict, and the moratorium continues.

And it's not just the deep-water moratorium. By refusing to approve or renew permits and throwing up other regulatory and bureaucratic roadblocks, the Obama administration has also effectively imposed a moratorium on shallow-water operations — a moratorium that no reasonable person thinks makes sense. Because it fits their ideological agenda, and because they never want to let a crisis go to waste, the Obama administration has used the Deepwater Horizon spill to effectively end all energy production in the Gulf of Mexico.

Yes, this is the same administration that dithered and delayed for weeks, refusing foreign assistance that could have ameliorated the situation. Ameliorating the situation wasn't their goal. Remaking the American energy economy was their goal. 

On Wednesday, over 11,000 people attended the Rally for Economic Survival in Lafayette, LA. Gov. Bobby Jindal was one of the speakers. Here is a portion of his remarks: 

[YouTube link]

More of Jindal's speech here. As he said, the oil rigs are already starting to leave the Gulf for places like Nigeria and Brazil. In the words of Bruce Springsteen, "these jobs are going, boys, and they ain’t coming back." President Obama isn't stupid or ignorant. These aren't unintended consequences, this is what he wants. 

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Turning an accident into a catastrophe

Posted by Richard on June 28, 2010

In a Financial Post column, Lawrence Solomon provided much more detail about the Dutch offers for help in the Gulf oil spill that I posted about ten days ago. It's clear now that the Obama administration has turned an accident into a catastrophe that could have been averted (emphasis added):

Some are attuned to the possibility of looming catastrophe and know how to head it off. Others are unprepared for risk and even unable to get their priorities straight when risk turns to reality.

The Dutch fall into the first group. Three days after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico began on April 20, the Netherlands offered the U.S. government ships equipped to handle a major spill, one much larger than the BP spill that then appeared to be underway. “Our system can handle 400 cubic metres per hour,” Weird Koops, the chairman of Spill Response Group Holland, told Radio Netherlands Worldwide, giving each Dutch ship more cleanup capacity than all the ships that the U.S. was then employing in the Gulf to combat the spill.

To protect against the possibility that its equipment wouldn’t capture all the oil gushing from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, the Dutch also offered to prepare for the U.S. a contingency plan to protect Louisiana’s marshlands with sand barriers. One Dutch research institute specializing in deltas, coastal areas and rivers, in fact, developed a strategy to begin building 60-mile-long sand dikes within three weeks.

… The U.S. government responded with “Thanks but no thanks,” remarked Visser, despite BP’s desire to bring in the Dutch equipment and despite the no-lose nature of the Dutch offer — the Dutch government offered the use of its equipment at no charge. Even after the U.S. refused, the Dutch kept their vessels on standby, hoping the Americans would come round. By May 5, the U.S. had not come round. To the contrary, the U.S. had also turned down offers of help from 12 other governments, most of them with superior expertise and equipment — unlike the U.S., Europe has robust fleets of Oil Spill Response Vessels that sail circles around their make-shift U.S. counterparts.

Why does neither the U.S. government nor U.S. energy companies have on hand the cleanup technology available in Europe? Ironically, the superior European technology runs afoul of U.S. environmental rules. The voracious Dutch vessels, for example, continuously suck up vast quantities of oily water, extract most of the oil and then spit overboard vast quantities of nearly oil-free water. Nearly oil-free isn’t good enough for the U.S. regulators, who have a standard of 15 parts per millionif water isn’t at least 99.9985% pure, it may not be returned to the Gulf of Mexico.

When ships in U.S. waters take in oil-contaminated water, they are forced to store it.

The Americans, overwhelmed by the catastrophic consequences of the BP spill, finally relented and took the Dutch up on their offer — but only partly. Because the U.S. didn’t want Dutch ships working the Gulf, the U.S. airlifted the Dutch equipment to the Gulf and then retrofitted it to U.S. vessels. And rather than have experienced Dutch crews immediately operate the oil-skimming equipment, to appease labour unions the U.S. postponed the clean-up operation to allow U.S. crews to be trained.

There's more. Far superior Dutch dredging vessels aren't being permitted to build protective berms. Instead, the Dutch have been asked to train Americans to do the work. The Dutch are perplexed.

To be fair, Solomon noted that the US also turned down Dutch help with the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989. "Not invented here" syndrome and an inability to get priorities straight aren't unique to the Obama administration. Although I'd argue that in the wake of this unprecedented accident, they've taken insane environmentalism, protectionism, and loyalty to their labor union base to new heights. Or depths, depending on your perspective. 

(HT: Carpe Diem)

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Change! Dutch offer of help with oil spill accepted!

Posted by Richard on June 17, 2010

The Obama administration has now accepted one of the thirteen offers of help with the oil spill cleanup from foreign countries, a mere 54 days after the offer was made (emphasis added):

Three days after the Gulf oil rig explosion, the Netherlands offered to send in oil skimmers to pump oil off of the surface of the ocean. The Obama Administration turned them down because they were not 100% efficient and small amounts of oil would be pumped back into the Gulf with the excess water. EPA regulations do not allow for residue water to contain any oil. So rather than use equipment that was not 100% efficient the Obama Administration chose to let all of the oil run into the Gulf. This is not just bad policy, it is criminal.

Since the Obama Administration turned down assistance from The Netherlands at least 125 miles of Louisiana coastline has been ruined by the BP oil spill. Tar blobs began washing up on Florida’s white sand beaches near Pensacola days ago. And, crude oil has also been reported along barrier islands in Alabama and Mississippi.

According to The Examiner, the Dutch offer was to fly in the skimmer arms for mounting on American ships, not to send Dutch ships. So apparently I was wrong to suggest that the administration refused the offer because of the Jones Act and the administration's ties to labor unions. The refusal was instead due to the administration's mindless adherence to dumb EPA regulations and its utter stupidity (emphasis added):

As of June 8th, BP reported that they have collected 64,650 barrels of oil in the Gulf. That is only a fraction of the amount of oil spilled from the well. That is less than one day’s rated capacity of the Dutch oil skimmers.

Turning down the Dutch skimmers just shows a total lack of leadership in the oil spill. To just leave the oil in the water because regulations do not allow you to pump slightly polluted oil back into the ocean is just plain stupid. The small amount of oil pumped back into the ocean with the Dutch system is tiny droplets of suspended oil that will be quickly broken down by naturally occurring bacteria.

Well, at least they've wised up. And it took them less than two months. 

Still, does the phrase "a day late and a dollar short" ring a bell? 

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The tingle is gone

Posted by Richard on June 17, 2010

The talking heads on the left seemed to be just as underwhelmed by the President's speech last night as those on the right. NewsBusters reported on MSNBC's post-speech panel discussion by Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, and Howard Fineman, and all three seem to have been pretty critical.

For sure, Chris Matthews didn't get that tingle up his leg this time:

Why does he continue to say that the Secretary of Energy has a Nobel Prize? I mean, it`s almost gotten ludicrous. We had Carol Browner do it again tonight. … I`m not sure whether these degrees are going to help or these awards from overseas.

… We have a blue ribbon panel now that`s going to look into what went wrong. Can`t we move a little quicker than that, than to name a commission? That`s what they`ve done here. Another commission and another guy mentioned, they mentioned for having a Nobel Prize. …

I don`t sense executive command. And I thought that was the purpose of this speech tonight, command and control. I`m calling the shots. My name is Barack Obama. I`m the boss. I`m telling people what to do. I didn`t get that clarity. … He must be chief executive. He can no longer be Vatican observer or intellectual, or a guy calling in experts, or naming commissioners or whatever. I think he`s, or citing people for their Nobel prizes, I think he has to be the boss. …

The former Obama cheerleader is now surprised and disappointed by the President's lack of leadership and "executive command" skills. Back in 2008, there was no shortage of people pointing out that candidate Obama's background as an academic, community organizer, and part-time, present-voting legislator was sorely lacking in real-world job experience, much less any executive experience that might prepare him for the presidency. But Matthews pooh-poohed such concerns. He had that tingle running up in his leg. 

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Refusing foreign help with oil spill cleanup

Posted by Richard on June 16, 2010

The President's first Oval Office address, on Day 57 of the Gulf oil spill, was mercifully brief. But it was also pretty light on content. Stephen Green summarized one of its main points nicely: "Hurricanes are easy. Leaks are hard."

The President insisted that his administration is in complete control and right on top of this thing, and that they've got the best scientists and experts advising them. But he failed to explain why the administration ignored the experts' advice — and in fact misrepresented it — regarding the offshore drilling moratorium announced by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

There was the predictable pitch for a "new energy economy" — the absurd argument that the government can create jobs for everyone and make us all better off by forcing families and businesses to switch to energy sources costing up to ten times as much as coal and oil.

The President also didn't explain why his administration has turned down a baker's dozen offers of help from foreign governments that have the equipment and expertise to greatly speed the oil cleanup. But the Heritage Foundation has an explanation: 

… Just three days after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, the Dutch government offered to provide ships outfitted with oil-skimming booms and proposed a plan for building sand barriers to protect sensitive marshlands. LA Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) supported the idea, but the Obama administration refused the help. Thirteen countries have offered to help us clean up the Gulf, and the Obama administration has turned them all down.

According to one Dutch newspaper, European firms could complete the oil spill cleanup by themselves in just four months, and three months if they work with the United States, which is much faster than the estimated nine months it would take the Obama administration to go at it alone. The major stumbling block is a protectionist piece of legislation called the Jones Act which requires that all goods transported by water between U.S. ports be carried in U.S.-flag ships, constructed in the United States, owned by U.S. citizens, and crewed by U.S. citizens. But, in an emergency, this law can be temporarily waived, as DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff did after Katrina. Each day our European allies are prevented from helping us speed up the cleanup is another day that Gulf fishing and tourism jobs die.

Now, why do you suppose such an internationalist would blow off all those offers of help from our European allies and insist on us going it alone? Why would he refuse to temporarily suspend a stupid 90-year-old protectionist law at the cost of greatly increasing the damage to the Gulf Coast environment and the livelihoods of its residents? Two words: labor unions. 

Or maybe Rush Limbaugh is right, and the Obama administration doesn't want a quick resolution to the problem. Maybe this is another one of those fortuitous (for them) crises that Rahm Emanuel doesn't want going to waste. It's an opportunity to further extend the reach of the federal government, to tightly regulate and control another significant sector of the economy, to ram through "cap-and-tax" or something similar.

Or maybe it's just incompetence and ineptness.

Stupid? Evil? Or simply in the pocket of the labor unions? I don't know. But I can't think of a fourth alternative. 

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Offshore drilling sleight of hand

Posted by Richard on April 1, 2010

Don't get too excited about the news that President Obama has embraced "Drill here, drill now." The initial MSM reports sounded good, but just a bit of digging reveals this to be the administration's April fool's joke. Or, as the Competitive Enterprise Institute put it, "sleight of hand":

Most of Alaska, all of the Pacific coast, and other areas that could yield affordable energy for American consumers are still closed off from any development. Rather than a painful compromise, this is therefore actually a step back from what the American people thought had been achieved in 2008.

"When gas reached four dollars a gallon, the American people were shocked to discover that most of our domestic oil reserves were locked up by the federal government. They demanded change," said Competitive Enterprise Institute Director of Energy Policy Myron Ebell.

In 2008, President George W. Bush revoked his father's executive order barring new offshore energy development and the Department of the Interior prepared a five year offshore leasing plan. The Democratic Congress co-operated by dropping the long-time moratorium which banned offshore oil production everywhere except in the western Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic Ocean off Alaska. The Obama administration, however, suspended the Interior plan and delayed a planned lease auction scheduled for 2011. It is now proposing a new plan that is much more limited.

So in a nutshell, the areas they're bragging about opening up were already open (pre-Obama). And some of the areas they're closing down were already open, too. The net effect is to reduce access to domestic reserves, not increase it. 

The editors of National Review Online think they know the true purpose of this new plan:

The limited drilling is clearly being offered as a bargaining chip, a way to give soft Republicans such as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) and oil-state Democrats such as Mary Landrieu (D., La.) cover in exchange for their votes on legislation that caps or taxes emissions. Graham and Landrieu were members of the Gang of Ten, the senators who proposed limited drilling in exchange for lots of new subsidies for green-energy companies and, in the process, nearly derailed the effort that undid the congressional ban. Unsurprisingly, the Obama's drilling proposal looks a lot like the one the Gang of Ten put on the table. … We argued at the time that the amount of oil that the Gang's proposal might yield wouldn't be worth the cost to taxpayers of even more subsidies for politically influential but commerically lame green industries. It certainly wouldn't be worth it now that carbon caps have been added to the broader policy mix.

Just like "no middle-class tax increase," "reducing the deficit," "shovel-ready jobs," and "transparency," the claim of "opening coastal waters" deserves a Joe Wilson type of response. 

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Arctic oil and gas bonanza

Posted by Richard on June 3, 2009

The American Association of Petroleum Geologists is meeting in Denver next week. One of the featured sessions looks at a recent re-appraisal of arctic oil and gas potential that significantly increased previous estimates:

The session will be co-chaired by Don Gautier and David Houseknecht, both with the U.S. Geological Survey, and will follow-up on a USGS report released in late May that said 30 percent of the world's undiscovered gas and 13 percent of its undiscovered oil are estimated to be located north of the Arctic Circle.

The study, presented by Gautier and colleagues, is the first detailed, peer-reviewed and geologically based assessment of natural resources in that region. Most of the undiscovered oil and gas will be found underwater, on continental shelves, the researchers said.

The USGS study was recently published in Science magazine, but is only available for free to AAAS members/subscribers. There's a brief overview (heavy on concern for the poor creatures of the Arctic and somewhat dismissive of the value to us humans) at ScienceNow

Some of the richest Arctic oil fields are likely to be off the Alaskan coast in the Bering, Beaufort, and Chukchi Seas. A lease auction last year in the Chukchi area brought in over $2.6 billion. Many of the promising parcels there are comparable in size to the North Slope field (Prudhoe Bay) that's fed over 15 billion barrels of oil down the Trans-Alaska Pipeline in the past 30 years. 

Unfortunately, on April 17, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Appeals Court vacated the Alaskan leasing program and ordered the Interior Dept. to "conduct a more complete comparative analysis of the environmental sensitivity of different areas…" Fortunately, the ruling was fairly narrow, and the court dismissed plaintiffs' arguments that Interior needed to consider the "climate change" impact of burning any oil found. Interior Secretary Salazar is at least giving the impression that he wants to "move forward and fix the shortcomings," not scrap Alaskan offshore development completely. No suggestion that they might appeal, though. I suspect he's delighted by the ruling and won't seriously try to reverse it.

With oil (and gas) prices on the rise again, it's high time the government stopped standing in the way of increased domestic oil production. That's especially true in the Alaskan Arctic, where — as Investor's Business Daily pointed out — if we don't go after those resources, others will:

It ought to be reassuring to Americans that energy can be developed here. Americans are environmentally conscious, and Palin herself has a good record on balancing development with ecology.

The alternative isn't reassuring: If we don't drill, the Russians will. Situated over on the eastern end of the Chukchi Sea, they have global ambitions of dominating the energy trade and no qualms about muscling in on the U.S.

Drill Chukchi. Drill now. Pay less.  

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Shovel-ready stimulus

Posted by Richard on March 1, 2009

Investor's Business Daily can't understand why the Obama administration and Congress are moving quickly to prevent off-shore drilling when supporting more drilling should be a no-brainer for our purportedly "pragmatist" president. After all, there are lots of new jobs, new tax revenues, and economic stimulus out there:

Vast amounts of energy lie right off our shores. Conservatively tallied, government data show 86 billion barrels of oil and 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in continental U.S. waters — enough to replace 20 years' worth of oil and gas imports.

This is also enough to insulate the U.S. from a potential energy shock or 1970s-style oil embargo. But here's the great part for Obama: It's shovel-ready stimulus.

As noted in a recent study by the American Energy Alliance, an industry research group, developing our offshore energy resources would create in the coming years:

• $8.2 trillion in additional GDP.

• $2.2 trillion in total new state and federal tax revenues.

• 1.2 million new jobs at high wages.

• $70 billion in added wages to the economy each year.

All this for doing nothing other than letting oil companies do what they do best: Find and develop potential energy sources.

But they make money. Oil companies sometimes rake in big profits — can't have that.

And they produce carbon dioxide emissions. Algore says those are destroying the planet — can't have that.

And they create private-sector jobs which people take in order to serve their own needs and goals, rather than to serve the "public interest" — can't have that.

And they equip those getting the new jobs with self-sufficiency and independence instead of dependence on government — can't have that. 

The Prez has declared several times over the past few weeks that he wants to create "not just any jobs – jobs that meet the needs we’ve neglected for far too long" — specifically jobs that meet the need for more government workers, government projects, government funding, and government goals.

The Prez is one of those politicians who, in the words of Howie Rich, "rhetorically extol the virtues that once made this country great while they systematically remove brick-by-brick the incentives needed to make it great once again."

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American Energy Freedom Day is coming

Posted by Richard on September 18, 2008

October 1 is being called American Energy Freedom Day because that's the day on which the current bans on oil shale and offshore drilling expire. Congressional Democrats are between a rock and a hard place on this one. That's why, as Investor's Business Daily noted, they hurriedly threw together an "energy bill" and rammed it through the House the other day:

The move won them misleading headlines declaring that Pelosi's Democrats had "eased offshore drilling ban" in what the press described as "a stark reversal." 

But Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling, the Republicans' Study Committee chairman, correctly called the bill "a sham" with no provision addressing the dire need for construction of new oil refineries, "no clean coal, no energy exploration in arctic Alaska, no nuclear energy and — if you read it — no exploration in the Outer Continental Shelf for energy in their bill." 

Behind this bill to drill that doesn't is radical environmentalist ideology.  "They look at our oil and gas reserves and see toxic waste sites," Hensarling quipped.  "Republicans look at our oil and gas reserves and see vast and valuable natural resources that will ease pain at the pump and lessen our dependence on foreign oil."

The bill appears to have no chance in the Senate and would almost certainly be vetoed if passed. IBD pointed out that this presents Republicans with a terrific opportunity, since an overwhelming majority of Americans favor more drilling: 

Republicans could take that Oct. 1 deadline and act like a winning football team — by running out the clock.  President Bush and Sen. McCain could lead the chorus counting the days to American Energy Freedom Day. 

Then once the clock has run out and the drilling ban is gone, McCain and other GOP candidates can spend the final month of the campaign basking in the credit they'd get from the American people — especially since oil prices are sure to drop in reaction to the ban's expiration.

There's just one complication: As is usually the case when the GOP is about to win one, members of their own party have tried to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Ten Republican senators have joined with ten Democrats (the "Gang of 20") to propose a "bipartisan compromise" that would cost $84 billion, increase energy taxes (which you and I will pay) by $30 billion, and only pretend to increase access to more new oil supplies. Colorado's Republican Senate candidate Bob Schaffer quite accurately described it as "40% tax increase, 10% energy and 50% snake oil."

Chris at My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy totally demolished the five key parts of this plan in a must-read post, concluding:

This is a disaster. If it doesn’t pass the media and democrats will light up with “Republicans kill increased drilling”. If it does pass, the republicans lose an issue to beat Obama up. Even worse is if it gets stuck in committee. Here’s that scenario. Mr. Representative wanna-be, where do you stand on drilling? “I support the ‘American Energy Act’ sitting in congress. I’ll make sure it’s passed”. Bam. Good bye issue. Of course, when he wins and the dems keep control, it will never come up and we’ll be stuck with high oil and gas prices as Nancy Pelosi tries to save the Earth.

The other problem is that even if it passes, it won’t increase supply. Two years from now, people will be wondering what the heck happened to all that drilling they had heard was coming. They won’t remember that it provided no incentives for the states to drill. They’ll just blame those evil oil companies and their republican allies.

We have the chance to win with this issue. If we do nothing over the next 2 weeks, the ban ends and the democrats will have to vote to re-instate it. The gang of idiots needs to be stopped before they can disarm the only issue that the republicans can win with.

According to The Hill, the Gang of 20 has now decided not to introduce a bill until after the election, instead issuing a "statement of principals (sic) outlining their agreement on a host of divisive issues, including expanded offshore drilling." Which makes it clear that the gang — Republicans and Democrats alike — are simply gutless, unprincipled opportunists who put this sham plan together so they could talk out of both sides of their mouths to the voters back home (9 of the 20 are up for reelection). 

Call and/or email your senators and congresscritter and tell them to let the ban expire. Tell them we don't need new taxes or massive new porkbarrel spending, we just need Congress to stop blocking access to energy.

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Drilling in the suburbs

Posted by Richard on August 5, 2008

In Colorado, environmentalists are suing to stop oil and gas drilling, Gov. Ritter and the Democratic legislature are pushing for tight restrictions on the industry, and residents in some areas are complaining about the despoiling of their land and poisoning of their water.

And yet, Texans somehow have figured out that gas wells can coexist with upscale suburban neighborhoods. Maybe Texans are a lot smarter than Coloradans (or Congress). Or maybe they're just more immune to environmental hysteria: 

In the 1980s, Houston wildcatter George Mitchell drilled the first well into the Barnett Shale formation that stretches through north and central Texas. He tapped into what would turn out to be one of the largest onshore natural gas reserves in the United States.

It would take nearly two decades and millions of dollars to develop the horizontal, hydraulic technology necessary to bring that gas to the surface. But today there are about 7,500 gas wells in the Barnett Shale — many located in the city limits of Fort Worth, and some a stone's throw from suburban homes and schools.

If there is an energy crisis in this country, it is because too many states and too many lawmakers in Washington are too timid about allowing entrepreneurs to bring to the surface what is buried right below us. In Texas, we're not timid. …

What I've seen is that while Congress balks at drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska out of fear of disturbing a few caribou, we've moved ahead to safely tap into an energy reserve located underneath suburban homes. And there is no better example of how Texas gets the balance right between energy and the environment than the development of the Barnett Shale.

As for the ANWR caribou, I suspect they'd be no more disturbed by a few wells than the residents of suburban Ft. Worth. The caribou around nearby Prudhoe Bay certainly aren't:

Caribou at Prudhoe Bay

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